...random thoughts, opinions and secrets on children... aging... cooking... crafts... nature...divorce...second chances...
and whatever else I deem curious...
~Copyright 2017. Hootie~

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Crazy, Gorilla, or Trash?

Relationships bind human beings together.  Maybe you believe in love at first site?  Or maybe you are one of those people who thinks a friendship must grow first before love can blossom. I'm still learning to love that person who makes up my soul. I know that before I can love another, I need to satisfy my need to know and love myself.  I'm still working on untangling my life, or at least learning to run my new life parallel to my old memories.  Little things can trigger emotions.  


When two people get married, they share so much, and it is understandable that their lives become intertwined.  Even the bible defines how deeply this bond will become: ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’ ~ Matthew, Chapter 19.   

It won't kill you, but it does shatter life.  
It may shatter a family, other relation -ships, and traditions.  When something shatters one contemplates, is Crazy Glue, or Gorilla Glue best to be used to mend breaks?  As with some broken things, sometimes the trash can is the best option.  What isn't meant to be, needs to be tossed away, or released so a fresh start may happen.

After my divorce, I made choices that were good for me.  I chose to stay in the house I love, my burrow.  If you look around, you'd see I haven't changed much there.  The house was always a reflection of me.  The love that has flowed through my veins, oozes out and fills that space.  By choosing to live in the burrow, I chose to have my ex-mil right next door.  I accepted, and knew that.  I knew I'd have my former family in and out of my space.  I didn't realize how challenging it could be at times.  Things happen next door and I am not a part of them.  Of course.  That's how life is after divorce.  Things happen in my house too, and my neighbors are not a part of them.  Still, it can hurt.  Mail arrives at my house with his name on it.  Because he changed his physical location, he never has to see my name in his mailbox.  Old habits were that my mil could walk right into my house.  She continues to bring me mail that gets delivered to her.  Even pieces of junk mail, that have his and my name on them.  I know she has to accept things he has done.  He is, after all, her blood...her son.  I am not sure I'll heal enough to mend my relationship with her in this lifetime.  I admit, I hold her responsible for raising him to become the person he has become.  I am not able to separate her from him.   

Shattered ..... friendships.  

Social events I used to attend, and be a part of, are no longer in my life.  Someone else fills the space I once occupied. I do realize that the community doesn't have to go home with my ex, so it matters not to them if they hang out with him for a few hours.  It doesn't matter if he attends these events with me, or with someone new. The community is natural curious.  What is she like?  Who is this new person who thinks she can fill Lisa's shoes?  Maybe the hardest things for me to handle are friend's vocal curiosities.  Some have the gall to ask, 'Is he married now (to the woman he left you for)?'  Think about that...I am asked about HIS state of affairs?  I wonder if he is asked about me?  What can the community possibly say to him about me?  Hopefully, it says, and he hears again and again and again, "Oh, my gosh, Lisa is AMAZING!! She seems to be thriving more than anyone I have ever seen." I certainly feel I am thriving in most areas of my life.  My once contained spirit is feeling comfortable stepping out into the world.  

Some moments I wonder, 
who is this woman living inside my skin?
Where has she been hiding?  

Those moments are getting more frequent, but I do get knocked back down now and again by reality.  Once in a blue moon, someone will say to me, "I looked him up on FB." "I saw pictures of...." O.M.G. I don't need to hear this!!!  

I wear invisible chain mail over my heart. 
I fake being strong better than most anyone knows, but I do have a breaking point.  Sometimes, when I am asked certain, thoughtless questions, I wish to just die.  
Then I remember, 
divorce doesn't kill.

Shattered ..... family traditions and in-law relationships.  

Suddenly, children find they need to split their time, or make choices.  They know how things have always been and may expect all around to make life seem normal.  Life is anything but normal.  Former mother-in-laws may act much like children, and hope life can go on as if not much has changed.  Divorce changes everything. There is no handbook that states how long it takes for one to get over such a deep hurt. 

Feelings ..... shatter, they cannot be collected and mended with glue.  Nor can they be tossed into a trash can.  My traditions have been shattered.  There isn't a glue strong enough to salvage these important parts of my heart.  I have had to toss my old life aside.  New traditions are emerging.  Sometimes parts of those old traditions I have loved, are woven into the new traditions I have started.  I suppose that is natural.

Coming off the heels of Thanksgiving, where one should feel thankful for all they have, I sometimes am reminded of all no longer in my life.  My parents are gone.  My own children are grown and no longer live under my roof.  My family by marriage...well, divorce changes everything.  I no longer have a place there.  

draws an image of millions of tiny shards. 
But shards, 
when looked at in the right light 
twinkle brighter 
than the object they formerly formed.  

My heart knows I sparkle more now than I ever did.  I feel there might be a super nova beneath my surface.  I wonder if 2017 will be the year it is released?   

~Lisa Krolleating, praying and loving
...always thinking about life
 and finding beauty in the thinking and in life in general

Blogging music:  Home Alone - Soundtrack (1990) by John Williams

Sunday, November 27, 2016

For the love of siblings....

Siblings = longest family relationships
Thanksgiving 2016
With my Sister and Brother
This recent holiday, I shared my home with my siblings, and our children. There were 11 of us in and out of my house over Thanksgiving.  
I spent 16 years growing up with just my brother in my life.  Our baby sister arrived as a surprise blessing long after my brother and I had ironed out our hierarchy.  She was, of course a band camp baby.  Have I told this story?  I was 15 and my brother 13 when our parents sat us down.  "Do you remember that baby you always prayed for, Lisa?"  Yes, of course I do.  "Well, next summer we are going to have a job for you." Really?  But I all ready have a job, at Hannon's.  "Next summer you will be babysitting too."  I was slow on processing what was being said.  My brother, on the other hand, made the connection faster than I.  "What? That's means you did it. Gross. When did it happen?" "We don't know exactly when it happened." "Ugh, that means you did it more than once?"  My brother and I decided it MUST have happened while we were at summer band camp, never mind that the timing didn't work out.  

Our sister missed out on puddle playing, sandlot war games, tree climbing, cousin navigating, family camping/vacations, l-o-n-g car rides, after school latch key-ness, summer babysitter training(we had to train them to deal with us), several months of farm living, new house construction, new schools, boy/girl friends being tortured, car radio dial controlling, calling shotgun, dish washing rituals, Friday night euchre games, weekend chores, becoming invisible when dad paid bills, Sunday dinner at grandma and grandpa's combined with the lack of Sunday night Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color watching when grandpa was sleeping in front of the TV with 60 Minutes on instead of our favorite, and the birth of a sibling.  

A few years after her birth, our sister did experience our father's death with us, but she was 5 and we were 19 and 21.  We felt our roles shift from siblings to caretakers of our mom and little sister.  I know my brother felt a weight on his shoulders as the man of the family after dad died.  Our mother struggled with the loss of her love, and I know I felt responsible for helping life remain normal for my sister. I was set to stay home from college, I had three years completed.  I thought I should stay at home, go to the extension maybe, and help, as did my brother.  Our paternal grandfather wouldn't hear of it.  He said the best way we could honor our father would be to go back to campus and finish college.  Grandma and Grandpa said they would be there for mom and our sister.  And they were.  Still, there was so much my mom needed to go through and they couldn't help her emotionally.  Hindsight is 20/20, and my recent life experience has made me understand that mom needed time to grieve.  Which was exactly what she was doing. 

My brother and I spent many hours during the summer of our dad's death sitting by his grave and talking.  We were supposed to be at church...but we weren't.  We'd take turns running into church to pick up a bulletin as proof that we went, then we'd go buy donuts and sit with dad.  We reminisced about our past and pondered our future. Mom didn't question us when we returned from church.  Christmas was her favorite time of the year.  That first Christmas, both my brother and I were at IU and working retail.  We worked Christmas eve, then headed home to attend midnight mass with mom and our sister.  After church I discovered that mom was still mourning...what did I expect: her loss was just six months old.  Mom had bought Christmas gifts, but she couldn't bring herself to wrap them.  After church, I went to the basement and wrapped all the gifts.  The next morning was our first Christmas without dad.  Mom was so depressed, she struggled to get out of bed.  My brother and I pleaded with her to get up.  She had a five-year old and Santa HAD to come.  Somehow we made it through that Christmas, together.  After that, each Christmas was easier.  I was home for the two summers after dad died.  I watched my sister by day then worked nights so my mom could work days, and my sister didn't have to go to summer daycare.  

Being together as a family has always been easy.  In our early years, my brother and I had spent a significant amount of time pounding on one another, "He's touching me!" "She started it!" "He's in my airspace!" "She coughed on me, on purpose!!!" "He ate the bigger half of the...!" "She took the last...!" "He's looking at me!" "She laughed!" It was how we worked out our hierarchy and it was what bonded us together. I was good at punching my brother, then timing it where mom or dad would see him retaliating.  I think it was a gift I had.  We were experts at driving Mom and Dad a little bonkers.  But in times of crisis, I do know I can count on my brother for anything.  All the experiences we have shared, have made us a strong family unit...even as we have grown and now have our own families.  My sister and I have shared experiences too, but mostly they started as the ones surrounding the seven months of our mom's battle with cancer. We walked that walk together with our brother, but it was mostly my sister and I who took the reins of that beast.  Since then, my sister has helped me celebrate points in my life.  She traveled with me to Disney World where I turned the big 5-0, she helped celebrate my receiving my Masters, and she's been my rock through my divorce.  

My sister and her husband grew up as only children.  These past few days together, I watched their children be normal siblings.  They argued, they socked one another, they played together, they laughed, they negotiated, they snuck around, they mothered/fathered one another, and they shared, always having the others in mind.  My sister worried that her kids were being too loud, too rambunctious, talked too much, were too messy, etc.  They were being kids.  What I saw was family bonding in progress: love building.  They were away from their home base and yet they had one another.  I am a little sad for my sister and BIL that they didn't grown up with siblings close to their age or at all. They stress out when their kids are being normal kids.  It's a kids job to stress their parents out a little!

I wouldn't trade my life experience of having siblings for anything.  My sister, my brother and I were all lucky, and brave enough, to give our children siblings close to their own age.  I trust all our kids will know they have someone they can truly count on when times get tough.  Hopefully they can look at their parent and Aunt or Uncle as good examples of how one should love, respect and stand by their siblings as they age.

After our mom died, I felt even more responsible for the family.  I'm the patriarch now.  I hope I am doing things correctly.  If I don't hand down family traditions, how will our legacy go on? New traditions happen, but I don't want my parents to be forgotten.  What a huge weight of responsibility.  

~Lisa Kroll
          sister, mother, aunt (spelled ant at times), friend, and family member

Tonight's blogging music had me thinking of my mom mostly as she loved Christmas.    Straight No Chaser: all their Christmas music...but my favorite, Indiana Christmas.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


From an early age, I heard...'when you finish high school, you will go to college'.  What was implied:  People who had an education were better than the people to whom I belonged.  I know my parents just wanted the best for me, but somehow they made me feel I wasn't enough as I was. As I read what I have written, I know they were really saying I could achieve so much more than they had.  A child's perspective can be skewed in the wrong way.  Sometimes children think they have more world experience than they really do.  Life is meant to take a long time.  We need time to work through all the challenges that come with the ride.  

Through our life, we play different roles.  We take our cues from those around us. I knew what was expected of me.  I grew up in a gated community.  My parents were blue collar workers.  I remember thinking, how are we allowed to live here?  We were not anyone important.  In fact, we were nobodies.  Rich people lived in gated communities.  I grew up feeling someone was going to find out I wasn't the same as everyone else.  I wasn't elite.  I didn't fit in with the members of this gated community.  True, my parents were hard working individuals as were many of the other parents.  But these people played golf.  They played tennis.  They swam. The evidence was in the golf course, tennis courts, swimming pool and the tags needed to do these activities.  I had these tags.  Yes, I played golf.  Yes, I played tennis.  Yes, I swam.  However, both my mom and dad had to work in order for us to live in the house we lived.  Money was tight.  The budget didn't have much wiggle room.  When I needed dental work, and I needed a lot, I felt incredibly guilty.  I felt I owed my hard working parents for all they sacrificed for me.  There were fights over money spending.  I don't recall there ever being a fight over money spent on my issues, but I was a sensitive kid.  I took things personally.  I'm a sensitive grown woman.  I still take things personally.  I knew growing up that rich people were popular. I was cute, and I was smart, but I was not popular. At school, time and again I'd watch boys go for the pretty girls.  No one really wants a cute girl and when you add smart to the mix, they definitely don't want you.  Cute and smart are not part of the popular group.  So, I spent my growing up years feeling like I was going to be found out.  Someone had let my family into this gated community and we really weren't supposed to be here. Rich people were the popular group and that wasn't me.  I didn't feel that was my family either.  I sighed an audible sigh when I was able to escape the social expectations of growing up, daughter of blue collar parents, carefully living to not be discovered in a gated community. I made it through high school and no one found out.  

I went away to college.  It was my way to repay my parents, and I was still looking for a way to not be found out.  I wasn't that rich girl some thought.  Maybe through my education I could prove that I was capable.  I could take care of my parents, or at least not be a burden to them.  I could take care of myself.  Relief filled my soul when I met people who didn't know where I came from.  I met boys from all over the state, country and world.   They seemed to like cute, smart girls.  Maybe they were just being boys away from home...no social norms to follow.  They didn't know they weren't supposed to be looking at some imposter, non-rich, not popular girl.  I was scared I still couldn't measure up. College was an interesting playground for me. I struck pay dirt when I was asked to marry a boy who had parents that were BOTH college graduates.  My M.R.S.  

Educated people were better than the people I belonged with, right?  This thought constantly went through my brain.  I know I felt I had finally been welcomed into the popular group of life.  Yes!  Success!!!  I made it to the elite group.  To the big kids table.  I was finally worthy to live in the gated community. Academia leads to aristocracy...right?   

It took me over 25 years to learn the lesson: just because someone appears smarter, doesn't make them so.  Nor does smart make one better than another.  See, my whole lifetime I've felt that even though I was smart, I really wasn't as smart as __blank__, some-undefined-one else.  You can randomly fill in the space for that someone, it just depended on the situation or the circumstance.  The truth I know today is that I am not like anyone else.  I am still cute and smart.  My smarts are not the same as yours, and that's a really good thing.  

I once thought there was a perfect family; my fairytale.  This family was educated, and I was allowed to join their "team".  I thought they could do no wrong.  It turns out their story wasn't what I thought.  From the outside, one can only see a fraction of whatever someone else allows to be seen.  That perfect family...turns out they were human.  They are just as dysfunctional as the rest of us.  Being educated just meant they learned their life lessons a different way.  It didn't mean they were better. 

Reflecting on my youth, I had grown up in the perfect family and I realized it much too late.  My own parents had hearts bigger than anyone I may ever know in my lifetime.  My parents may not have had degrees signed from an academic facility, but they were smarter, happier, more loving, more honest, more community minded, and more respected than anyone who has yet to cross my life path. Those are wonderfully big attributes to have and to live up too.  

My mom passed away 10 years ago today from Glioblastoma Multiforme.  I was blessed to be by her side for the seven months we knew about the cancer.  When roles reverse and you need to take care of your parents in the ways you did your infant children and beyond, a part of your soul awakens that you didn't even know existed.  You become a much stronger version of yourself.  Version 2.1.  You realize truths that may have always been around.  Previously acceptable ways no longer become acceptable.  Subconsciously you do change.  You realize that life truly is short.  You start living that thought:  Life. Is. Short.  That means that you start to speak up for what you want in the time you might have remaining on this wonderful Earth.  You realize unfinished dreams, and you reach for them.  You realize how precious the time you have left really is with those you love.  If you are lucky, the person you married as young twenty-somethings is also changing in these ways and your lives will align so you may share the rest of the journey.  Unfortunately for me, I had a different path of challenges yet to face.  In addition to today being the anniversary of my mom's passing, it also would have been my 30th wedding anniversary.  My divorce was official 17 months ago.  Bittersweet day.  Yet life moves forward.  

No regrets.  I do realize I am rich beyond my wildest dreams.  I am thankful to no longer be confined, nor limited. 

Love, my friends.  
Be thankful.  

~Lisa Kroll, definitely eating, praying and loving these days
Feeling thankful for my family and especially for how I was raised.  

Tonight's blogging music:  
The Lumineers, Cleopatra

"Things I knew when I was young.  Some were true and some were wrong."   - the Gun Song, The Lumineers, Cleopatra Album

dedicated to Patricia T. Scubelek-O'Conner
written on 11/19/16 and edited and published on 11/22/16


Saturday, October 29, 2016

This Mustang chases Porsches....

The highway was straight and flat.  The black Camaro entered the highway and pulled up alongside a red Mustang, both young male drivers, were doing over the posted speed limit.  IROC-Z vs. 5.0 GT. Testosterone kicked in and the battle heated up.  The needle in the Mustang had reached over 100 mph, when the red and blue candy bar lights were noticed approaching from behind.  The Z took the next exit.  The GT was from out-of-state and the state line was just 12 miles away.  Rolling the dice, the driver of the GT stupidly thought he could outrun his fate.  Several miles later, he pulled over.  The car that pulled behind him was a nondescript black police car.  

"Where're ya headed, Hoss?" The southern draw was clear.  Pause.  Driver response noted.  "See here's the difference between your car and mine.  Yours is all show, and no go, while mine is no show, and all go. I'm gonna need to see your registration and drivers license, and you're gonna have ta step out of the car." 
Not the Porsche chaser...all show and no go

..."all show and no go"...  

An imitation.  
A wanna be.  
Needing to make an impression. 

Hindsight is 20/20. We cannot out run our fate.  

In the late 80's, the California State Highway Patrol teamed up with Ford to produce a different car to meet their needs.  Formerly used were heavier Ford sedans.  The new design for the highway patrol was the Mustang SSP, Special Service Package. They were all go and no show, and highly effective.  

Their tag line was...This Mustang chases Porsches for a living.  

~Lisa Kroll, story teller, amateur historian, student of life.  
Oh, and former Mustang owner.  

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Fall Break...

During Fall Break this past week, I had a little visitor outside my house...

He kept flitting back and forth, flying around the yard then back to my house.  I happened to be sitting out in the sunshine for a few minutes when our paths crossed.  Later in the day I decided I needed a little more of the old me around.  It used to be that I would walk in the woods and absorb all the positive energy nature had to share.  

I grabbed my camera, and the dog leash, then set out.  

I saw my bat near the neighbors....

...ears popping out of a hole in a tree...

 ...was watched by a doe....

 ...drank in the beauty of the green tulip tree leaves over head in the fall sunshine...

...and made Winston a very happy dog.  

~Lisa Kroll, Nature Enthusiast.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

What if???

I have been thinking a single thought lately...what if...

I have spent the past few years feeling responsible for all the crap I have gone through.  I realize that each of us IS responsible for what they allow into their lives.  So technically, I am.  I'm meaning I took the blame for everything that happened that lead to my marriage ending.  If I had seen the end coming I should have done something to stop the train.  Right???  I hadn't fallen out of love, so I didn't think that train was on the right tracks.  I didn't know where that engine was located.  I didn't see it, and therefore I felt I must have done something wrong.  Being the person that I am, I felt responsible for how everything played out.  I felt responsible for all the problems.  As if I, alone, was to blame for the my marriage failing and then ending.  But what if...

What if... I am responsible.  

Responsible for being a capable individual.
Responsible for being a smart human being.
Responsible for holding the family together. 
Responsible for being a kind soul, who actually loves life, and finds joy all around.
Responsible for my own loving and being loved in return. 
Responsible for my own voice.  

What if I'm actually not the damage goods I was made to believe I was?

No finger pointing, but I was born and raised in a society that was in flux.  For awhile I believed that men were to be cherished, to be put on a pedestal and to be treated like the king of the castle.  At the same time, I believed women were to insist on equal rights and could do everything men could.  I put my dad up on a pedestal while I deeply admired my mom.  I followed suit in my own home.  Yet, some part of me felt I couldn't speak my mind in my household.  I am not a fighter.  Maybe that was the problem.

Last week I read a book called Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton.  The story is a memoir and incredibly personal.  Glennon's story is of her learning to love again.  She grew up thinking she wasn't enough according to society's standards.  Instead of thinking society was flawed, she took the blame.  She says she 'checked out' and sent her 'representative' instead of her true self to live life.  I can certainly relate to her thinking.  So many times I felt maybe I was the problem...but what if I wasn't.  What if I was just with the wrong person who couldn't appreciate all the details that make up me?  

As I read Love Warrior, there were times I felt Glennon had actually been inside my head while she was writing..as if she snatched some of my thoughts and claimed them as her own.  Her writing validated me and suddenly I didn't feel so isolated in my thoughts. When I finished reading, I wondered, what if there has never been anything wrong with me?  Again, I know we aren't perfect, but what if I chose to believe someone else's story about me over my own truths?  What if that story was flawed because they were flawed themselves, and there for they couldn't see me in the proper light?    

Today I am still healing.  I am a stronger person than I used to be. That's not really a true statement.  I have always been a strong person, I just know it now and show it more. I still struggle, and have challenges, but I know I can handle anything that comes my way.  As I become more self-assured, I am feeling ready to get back out into society and have a real relationship.  I want to share my life and all I have with another.  I want to be someone's favorite hello and his hardest goodbye.  I want to love again.  I am discovering that I do have a lot to offer.  I know I am not yet fully healed, and will always be a work in progress...as are we all. Time helps me to gain confidence in knowing my own truths. This mindset...it's pretty cool.  Thanks Glennon, for helping push me over the fence to see the grass on the other side.  I feel I've been teetering for sometime and you made me realize we all have flaws, along with strengths.  

Friends keep telling me, 'you're fine/normal', 'this is natural', 'in time...', etc., but Friends, when you tell me that, and I look at you, I know you have no idea what hell I have truly been going through.  How can you know I'm going to be okay?  I don't wish tragedy on anyone, and I do know that behind closed doors things aren't always what they appear to be to outsiders.  Reading Glennon's story made me feel like a Love Warrior.  It was the push I think I've been needing. I felt a seed of peace and acceptance being planted in my soul as I closed that book.  

What if ... my seed blooms into a flower, with tendrils so long, and so beautiful, they touch others too?  No limits with this love-warrior-woman now.  

Warrior On, 

Lisa Kroll
~Shooting for the stars, while working on eating, always praying and giving thanks for what life shares with me, and being my own Love Warrior.

Blogging music tonight:  Bon Iver, 22, A Million the album on Spotify,
then my latest playlist creation that includes We are One, by Angelique Kidjo, Addicted to You by Avicii, Counting Backwards to 1 by Beautiful Small Machines, Bittersweet Faith (Thievery Corporation Remix) by Bitter Sweet, #1 Night by Cobra Starship, Paradise, Clocks, and Viva La Vida by Coldplay, Titanium by  David Guetta, and then Ed...Tenerife Sea, Shirtsleeves, Let It Out, Where We Land and Firefly.  

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
My sister saw this book online months ago and said, "We need this!"
She sent me the link to pre-order. Which I did.
Sisters Forever.

“you will always be my favorite hello and hardest goodbye.
P.S. i will always love you”...by Ceclia Ahern

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Road Block. Where is Reverse?

Last night....

My brain is in a fog.  It might be the lack of nourishment in my body.  I realized as I ordered my cup of tea tonight, that I've only had liquid caffeine today: two cups of coffee, a coke zero, and then a bag of chips.  Totally unhealthy.  But I'm not hungry. I just wanted the chips because they were Bugles.  My fingers have grown.  They don't fit on them as they once did.  

I have my headset on, but I can't get my music to play loud enough.  I feel if I can just flood my ears, maybe my brain will stop trying to think.  Last year was so much easier.  School was totally consuming.  I continually felt 20 steps behind where I needed to be.  Honestly, I don't even know how I made it through my first year as a teacher, except I know I had a supportive team who made sure I had what I needed to survive.  

This week, one of the few remaining tether lines to my past was cut loose.  Lily, our fourteen year old, diabetic cat died with me close to her side.  I thought about calling my daughter.  Lily came into our household as a reward for my daughter being able to stop sucking her thumb.  Lily was six weeks old when we got her.  My daughter had been 7.  My daughter lives in town, but I couldn't call her.  I didn't want her to witness the death of her beloved pet.  As soon as Lily passed, I did call her and my son, to share the news.  In the divorce, I "won" full custody of the family pets.  Mostly that was by default, he moved out and left all the responsibilities from his past life.  It really didn't matter though, Lily was exactly where she needed to be...with me, the animal lover.  For ten years, I made sure that she received insulin shots twice a day.  Every vacation, every weekend away, I arranged for someone to come and care for Lily.  I taught many friends how to give her shots.  My kids knew how, and could do it if they needed to.  

The next night I dug a grave in the backyard.  I said a few prayers over Lily.  I know she lived a good life and is at peace.  

Today I took two years of used needles, safely tucked into self-locking containers, to the hazardous waste site in town.  Then I drove the unused bottle of insulin to my vet.  It felt right to make that donation.  Pet insulin, needles, and special diabetic food are very expensive.  

I went into my classroom and worked for six hours.  I tried to numb my brain with work.  It helped for a bit. But I needed to go home.   

As I pulled up to my house...I had a very dark thought.  If I was gone...no one would care. I called my sister and cried.  My sister is my life line.  I'm not suicidal, but I am at such a dark place in life once again.  I thought I was through this stage.  My sister tells me I need to be patient.  I need to give it time. I need to heal. Love will happen again. My response is, I'm scared, I'm angry, I'm alone, and how can it happen? I'm so busy just trying to manage doing all those little tasks, and those big ones when they get shuffled into the mix, that I need to do.  I don't really have time for anything extra, and I feel unlovable. Besides, I don't know how to love any more. I don't know how to let someone get close enough to me to even let a spark ignite.  At times like these, I don't think I even believe people can love one another.  Have I become jaded? My outer shell has become tough and I don't think people like to work that hard to break other's shells.  Tears, and tears, and tears flow.  Tears for Lily.  Tears for my marriage ending.  Tears for the responsibilities I have in my life.  Tears for being alone.  How can a person have so many tears?  

I realize the road in front of me is just blocked right now.  I need to stop.  Breathe.  Put my life into reverse, and try another path.  

My life line advised I go do something just for me, so I did.  I went and had my nails done, and then I went to write.  I think a massage is in order tomorrow.  I need to feel human contact.  Maybe it will bring me back to life.  


This morning...

I went home last night after writing, and reheated some food in my refrigerator. Berlioz and Winston were so happy to be near me as I ate my very late dinner. Exhaustion has become a partner I live with, and I am more exhausted than I even realize.  I have learned that exhaustion messes with my brain and my moods.  Looking down at my fingers...my nails are cute this morning.  Looking at my 'to do' list, I realize I don't have time for that massage.  A massage is a good thought, but it didn't make the short list.  

I don't think I'm on a different path yet.  Maybe I need to cut those last two cords before I can take the alternate route.  In time...

~Lisa Kroll, a superwoman who cries but is still working on eating, praying and loving

RIP Lily Olé

Thursday, September 08, 2016


letting go


i sat

and stroked the head of our old, diabetic cat

i knew

her end was near

i cried


i prayed


i ran interference for my daughter
she didn't need to see this

so i did it


the heavens above

released with me

phone calls made

daughter is in shock, but on her way over

she needs to say goodbye too

what do my daughter and i have to share now?

another tethering cord has been cut

i am numb

i can only listen to the rain

ten years

twice a day insulin shots

no more

lily is finally at rest

Saturday, August 27, 2016

It started with a wish...

Jack of Hearts

I think it's time to tell our story. 

You are instrumental in cementing in me 
the romantic fool that I am. 

That said, I'll be a romantic fool any day.  
What you gave me was a gift.  

You have no idea how often I wonder what you are up to.  I say prayers that you and your family are happy, and safe.   

Thank you again, and I hope you don't mind that I have decided it's time to share.



It started with a Wish.  A simple wish. I wished for a secret admirer.  
It was in the school newspaper...The Wolf Call.    

I was on the yearbook staff and I knew the newspaper needed people to help add to the articles.  I would get extra credit for helping out.  Plus, I sort of did want a secret admirer.  Who doesn't when they are 14 years old?  

Boone Grove School, was established in 1913, and was very small.  It held grades K-12. For real, kindergartners were in one wing and high school students were in the other.  When I had free class periods I would go and help the band teacher, Mr. Hahn, as a band-aide.  He'd give certificates with an actual bandaid on it to all his helpers.  Of course, I still have several of mine! I'd also help out the elementary teachers...proof that the seeds of my second dream were planted in my youth.  The best teachers, English (Mrs. Bivens and Mrs. Webb) and Math (Mr. Bajzatt), had classrooms in the original part of the school.  The teachers lounge was a smoke filled labyrinth directly beneath them in the basement, complete with a ditto machine (a real thing...go look here).  As Band, Home Ec., Science and Shop classes were some of the "newer" subjects, they were in the newest part of the school, near the gymnasium. The Boone Grove Wolves excelled in basketball and track.  No football for the farm kids back in that day.  Boone Grove was literally out in the middle of corn fields, which also meant it was hard for seniors who didn't have access to a car, to make it through the full day of school. My graduating class would be the first to graduate over 100 students, and we barely did that...we had 120.  

In the fall of 1978, I was a freshman; total dork.  Still very much trying to figure out who I was, my place in school, and where I might be headed in life. One senior guy fancied me that year.  He was the life of the school, and of the community.  I'm sure all parents adorned him, and mine were no exception.  They even allowed me to date him, but I had to double date.  Let me say...it, was, torture, (NOT!).  The couple with whom we double dated was the most beautiful couple in the whole school.  True. And they were not only beautiful, they were incredibly kind and humble.  I think every girl in school, and possibly every girl in the county, was in lust with that beautiful guy.  As a freshman girl, I was tolerated by the seniors because of whom I dated, but truthfully they didn't want a young thing hanging out with them.  And because I was dating a senior, I didn't really fit in with the freshmen class either.   

So when the newspaper asked if anyone had a wish...I knew I didn't have anything to lose.  I just never expected my wish to be granted.  

On Friday, December 18, 1978, I received my first letter from my secret admirer.  Every letter of my name and address had been individually stamped on the plain white, letter-sized envelope.  When I opened the envelope, a letter and a playing card were tucked inside.  

Hand-written in all capitals was this message:  



It was signed with a design he created.  

I held the Jack of Hearts playing card in my hand as I read it over and over.  

Was this for real?  

My friends, it was.  The original playing card is pictured above.  This fall I hope I can find the right words to share the rest of this story.  Several of you may know this mystery person who touched my heart.  I hope you will respect his privacy and that of his family.  If you ask me, it is likely that I won't answer your questions.  When the story warrants it, I'll share.  

~Lisa Kroll, story teller, memory cherish-er, searcher - hoping to awaken my loving spirit once again so I can remember how to be loved 

More history about the students of Boone Grove back in 1978:  The senior guys of that year formed a non-school club which they called the BGRC.  That stood for the Boone Grove Rifle Club.  All the boys in this club came from farming families.  To my knowledge, there were no rifles involved, but it is possible they were familiar with rifles.  This group did get together and did cause trouble, but they were a group of fun-loving trouble makers.  As an example:  One time they commandeered all the flags and rakes from the golf course that I lived on...and then they showed up at my house!  My parents laughed, and my mom even drove the "escape" vehicle for them.  My parents were volunteer emergency responders in the community, so we had a police scanner in the house.  We knew the police were looking for the BGRC.  Mom made the boys deposit all the flags and rakes on one of the golf course greens, before letting all 13 of them pile into the back of our pick up truck.  She drove them out of our gated neighborhood to safety.   

My class of boys admired the BGRC, and after the original group graduated from school in 1979, they were bequeathed the name, and a new group was formed - the BGRC 2.  I think the original group was more mischievous than their prodigy.  And again...NO GUNS were ever part of the group activities, to my knowledge.  

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Shh....it's a secret

Last year I joined a secret club and I didn't even know it.

This club is filled with mostly women, but is not exclusive. Men are in this club, but the women are really the leaders.  Sorry, not sorry guys.  It might be the mom-gene in us.  Even those that do not have children have that gene and it cannot help oozing out in this group setting.

This club has the most supportive people in it I have ever met.  They hug.  They smile.  They listen.  They offer advice, if needed.  They laugh and see the humor in just about everything.  They allow you to cry, and never ever make you feel poorly about doing so. They also will help celebrate your milestones, birthdays, holidays, successes or missed attempts.  They are ALWAYS up to being taste testers...if you try a new recipe.  And I have witnessed them sacrifice themselves if someone happens to have too much...say cake...at home and needs it to disappear but just can't toss a perfectly good food item in the trash.  If you need to put on your You Are In Deep Trouble voice, they silently give those on the receiving end of your voice The Eye.  You know, the eye that without words says...'you did it now, pushed the envelope, didn't you?'

They will clear their evening schedules if you need someone to get a pedicure with, share a glass of wine or go play trivia.  They will be instantaneous exercise buddies, who will spend 30 minutes walking and talking, after having worked a full day.

They share...ideas, information and funny things that they see or hear. They share their families too...this club doesn't start and stop when you walk through the door.  In fact, it stretches through out the community, and farther.  I am hesitant to say through out the state and the country only because I haven't felt that yet.  But I suspect it does.

They are always willing to learn and try something new: cutting edge souls.  If you can't quite figure something out, they help and you won't feel silly needing and receiving their help.  They will even check on you later to see how things went.

They text.  A lot.  Which is pretty great.  You don't ever have to feel alone in this secret club.  This past Friday night,  I received a text thread that sparked over 40 messages in less than 20 minutes.  I lay exhausted on my couch, barely able to lift my phone after completing my first full week of the school year.  I'm not complaining.  That thread would have had my thoughts in it too, had I not fell asleep where I sat...it was just 8 pm.

I am blessed to be in this club.  I truly enjoy all the members.  They are deeply dedicated to what they do.  They inspire me daily, to add as best I can to the club.  

Society knows our school teachers (administrators and other staff included) are hard working individuals, but society really doesn't know the depth of how much passion runs through their veins.

~Lisa Kroll, 
     Just like Lilly...I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up!

Henkes, K. (1996) .  Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse .  New York :  Greenwillow Books

Saturday, August 13, 2016


The movie Inside Out reminds us that we need all our emotions to live life to its fullest.  
"Without Sadness, we cannot feel Joy."  

The past few years have allowed me to get back in touch with all of my emotions, and yet I have stubbornly still pushed one away.   

My creative side - expressed as Bing Bong?  Nope, he is always nearby.  I am a creative soul. I create in my flower garden, in my kitchen and in my classroom  Really, in everything I do my creative juices can't help but ooze out.   

Fear - the nagging part of me that gets scared sometimes about what unknown is coming next?  Nope.  I do have fears, but I have learned that when I am fearful, that is a part of my subconscious telling me something is not right. I do not mind fear.  I am learning to trust my instincts.  I am a smart person who can rationalize, and work through her fears.  

Disgust - the part of my being that realized that this DID happen to her even when she thought it couldn't? Nope. I see I am not special when it comes to being given a pass in the Universe. I'm good with disgust. The experience of being disgusted, means I can now look at things from a different perspective, and be thankful for what is no longer in my life.  

Sadness - who shows herself as loneliness, tears, and or heavy heart?  I know this emotion intimately.  Reminding myself of the lesson in Inside Out, I feel I will have deeper Joy, due to all I have experienced. My life will be richer because of my sorrows.  Still, I visit sadness more than I like, and she can wear me out!  I really am ready for her to take a long, extended vacation.    

Joy - Personally, I think I rock Joy. She's the emotion I do best, and most often.  I would say she has always been my main emotion.  I know I've said it before, but when my dad died I realized that life was short, and 21 years later when my mom died, I realized it was one thing to say life is short and another to start living like it is.  I enjoy finding the positive in all that surrounds me.  

Anger - He is the emotion I have struggled to embrace.  I just don't do anger.  I don't feel like I was ever really allowed to do anger either.  If I got upset, it was pointed that I was wrong to feel the way I did.  Maybe when my dad died, it colored my thought process.  So, I have been trying to work through admitting my anger and moving forward in my life.  I am quick to acknowledge when I am disappointed, but I won't say when I am angry. 

If I am honest, I AM angry.  I was supposed to have a partner with whom I could grow old, and spend the golden years...wasn't that what we were working towards?  I am pissed that I do not have someone I can travel with to the wonders I hoped we'd see.  I no longer have a companion with whom to attend birthday celebrations, weddings, graduations, galas, etc.  I no longer have someone who can help manage the house and it's list of chores.  I no longer have someone I can tell my secrets: the good, the bad and the ugly.  I lost the person who loved my quirkiness. I no longer have someone to share my evenings with, to go out and see that new movie with, no one to take me out to dinner, and no one to share my bed and cuddle with on cold, stormy nights.  In short, I am angry that I lost my best friend.  Can I find someone new?  Possibly.  Probably.  But I feel cheated.  He knew my faults and I knew his.  And I thought we loved one another despite it all.  Thick and thin.  I thought we were in it for the long haul. 'Til death do us part.  Through my anger though, I realize he is no longer the best friend I want.  

However, lately I've been pissed that my partner, who was supposed to be with me when our children gave us grandchildren to love, is no longer there.  That might be my biggest hurt I am working through right now.  I went to breakfast with a friend whose oldest child recently had her first baby; the first grandchild.  I'm not sure I kept my envy at bay.  I am so happy for my friend, that she is now able to provide child care for her grand baby.  But I hurt.  And it's a deep hurt. No matter what, I will not, ever, be able to offer that to my children.  Never.  I suppose it's good thing that my children are not at a point where they are ready to have children of their own.  When they do, I'll host sleep overs, and 'summer' camp with grandma. But I cannot dream to help my children as my friend is able to help her child.  As I said, it's a deep hurt.   

So, I am angry.  My anger gets masked by sadness, and then my fears rise up, and then I have a lack of confidence.  It is a vicious cycle.  I've read that a grieving person needs to go through all five stages of grief, in their own order, in their own time frame, and sometimes over, and over, and over again until they can finally let go.  In my divorce support group, I was told you need to give yourself one year of grieving for every five you were married.  

When I think like that, my fears rise.  I'm not getting any younger you know.  I am learning that one cannot rush what the universe has in store for her.  So right now, I need to just be kind and understanding to myself.  I need to give myself time.  I need to focus on what I have.  

I am putting my angers here so I can let them go.  I am disappointed, but I really want to believe that the Universe has something even better in store for me.  

I am healing.  I no longer feel as fearful, as I did two years ago.  I am not as disgusted, as I once was.  My sad times do not last as long as they did, and my joy does seem to be growing.  So anger, it's time for you to be felt, it's time for you to be acknowledged, and it's time for you to be turned loose.  

~Lisa Kroll, roller coaster rider, Universe believer, and creative soul who still wears a smile, despite what life throws her way...while continuing to eat, pray and love.  

Can you identify your emotions?  

tonight's blogging music:  Of Monsters and Men, their My Head is an Animal (2012) and Beneath the Skin - Deluxe Release (2015) CD's

Saturday, July 23, 2016

When Truman Stepped Through the Door...Everyone Paid the Price

In the movie The Truman Show, there is a point where Truman realizes that all around him has been staged.  He realizes that he has not been allowed to truly be himself. Society has been controlling his life.  With all the flair of the movies, Truman Burbank punches through the side of his fake world and finds a set of stairs with an exit door to the outside world.  He must decide, does he move forward or stay put?  No matter what he decides, from this point forward, life for all who crossed his life path will change... forever. 

Relationships end, and unfortunately that is part of life.  With a divorce, the collateral damage is more than one would expect. 

I was not an idiot in raising my children.  I realized that many more people get divorced now, as compared to when I was a youngster.  I raised my children in an induced Utopian world: to only have friends who were in solid families.  The old me defined "solid families" to mean their friends had two parents, who were together for the long haul.  My thought process was, if I could give my children a good example with my marriage, and fill their lives with other positive role models, they could potentially escape the realities of the really world.  Consequently, my children knew other kids whose parents were divorced, but they didn't grow up with those kids as close companions.  Off the top of my head, I can think of only two of my son's friends whose parents were divorced by the time my kiddos were in high school.  Mostly, my kids had friends who had intact families with parents who were always active in their lives.  Unconsciously I sought out friendships with others who were married only.  I did try to make a point of surrounding my own children with what I considered to be positive role models, as any caring parent might do.  Right or wrong, I grew up in an intact family, and I wanted the same for my children and the future generations of my family who might follow.  

Enter the Big D. 
FACT: Divorce hurts all who were brought together by the bond of marriage.

Collateral Damage in my divorce:  Two young adult children.  My definition of a young adult (YA) is someone who is over the age of 18. There was also my ex's mom (my MIL), various siblings, and extended family. I'm only focusing on my young adults, as they are connected by blood and I have personal experience with them.  

Studies have shown, when children are YAs, and their parents divorce, the YAs are more devastated than had the parents divorced when the children were younger.  I firmly believe this to be true.  As I have struggled with my own grief, my children have had their own problems to solve. I have been unable to focus on them.  I do think about my children and what they might be experiencing, but I cannot help them work through what they need to work through.  

I speculate, these might be a sampling of questions my YAs have asked themselves since May of 2013: 
     Are their memories real?
     Was their youth all a farce? 
     Were they the reason that an unhappy person stayed? 
     As adults, can they trust someone now to stay with them, should they find a soulmate?  
     What do they need to do to have a healthy relationship?  
     What does a healthy relationship look like?
     How do holidays work? 
     Where is home?   
     How can they stay out of the emotional battlefield? 

I know I haven't made it easy on my YAs.  Try as I might to keep my opinions bottled up inside of me, I exploded now and again. Less now then in the past, but I did unload from time to time.  To my children, I truly am sorry.  Please remember, I am human. I am not perfect.  But I DO love you with my whole heart.  

I hope my children never have to know hurt as I have.  My children deserve to have their own relationships with their father, just as they are forming their own relationships with me.  I have never wanted, or expected them to pick sides.  That's not right, nor is it fair.  As I raised my children, I never imagined they'd even think there would be a side to pick. 


It's been 31 years since my father died...June 20, 1985.  THAT was a devastating time in my life.  I remember emotionally breaking with his death, and wondering if I would ever heal.   I realized he was my father, and not my soul mate.  My parents were married for 23 years when he died.  I watched my mom, one incredibly strong woman, crumble to her knees but eventually rise again.   After dad died, my brother and I were there for one another, and for our mom.  I often discount my sister, but I don't mean to do that.  She was five when our dad died.  I know that she, along with therapy, were the reasons  mom was able to go on living.  Individually, and together, the four of us did heal.  It took a long time, and a lot of outside support, but we did work through that loss.  What helped me the most was that we were able to talk about missing dad, about the life we knew, and about what we had experienced together.  

With a death, the good memories are shared over, and over, and over.  That is not how it is with a divorce.  My children and I do not talk about what happened.  We cannot.  Honestly, the good memories that I have from my 28 year marriage, I question.  How can I not?...I didn't see our end coming initially.

Life has a way of happening the way it needs to though.  A close friend recently told me, as she listened to me spill my thoughts, that surely I knew what I did during my married years was really, really good.  She reminded me of my visible accomplishments...my children, and the adults they have become.  She commented on how much I was able to give them over the years.  She went on to say, something that I really all ready know, my ex wasn't growing with me, and he can't give me what I now need.  

Truman Burbank stepped through the door, putting his feet into an unknown world and said, "In case I don't see you...good afternoon, good evening and good night."  I imagine he had a lot of self discovery to do.   

Unlike Truman, I do not feel society was controlling my life before I stepped through my exit door and entered this new stage. I know I am in a time of self discovery.  I am continuing to learn who I am, what I enjoy, what I need, and what I want in life.    

~Lisa Kroll, student of life, who is starting to possibly enjoy the ride.  


Research/Interesting Reads: